I can literally count the number of outings my husband and I have taken together on one hand since the pandemic began. Alone, I’ve left the house to grocery shopping. Alone, he has left the house to get needed supplies at Target or Home Depot. Together, we left the house last summer and explored an outside park for an afternoon. Together, we left the house and explored the High School nearing the end of construction which he helped design. Together, we left the house and drove to our beach house three hours away and spent a few days there this past summer. Otherwise, we have followed the CDC guidelines by avoiding unnecessary travel and have stayed home to stay safe.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. I suggested we head together to a store I discovered through an online search. This party trip delivered an outing supportive of his new hobby, being a pond owner, and included a few unexpected animal encounters!
After a pleasant hour drive, we masked up and began walking around the Tropic Bay Garden’s outside displays. The meandering paths were lined with ceramic planters of all shapes and sizes. A dozen planting beds lined the outdoor paths. However, instead of being filled with soil, they were filled with water. Only a couple had plants in them now. Surprisingly, one was filled by three actively bathing ducks. Yes, ducks! Standing in the shallow 2-feet of water, each was flapping his wings. Then they’d lean down, rise, and flap their wings quickly some more. The garden employee explained, “Our Plant Festival is the last weekend in April. That’s when we will have plants to buy.”
“What’s that sound?” I asked Brian we continued to walk and explore. “Look!” Another unexpected animal was on the path ahead. Another, just like him, was off in the distance and had lots to say. It sounded like THIS. Look closely to see what we saw and heard!
Inside the shop, we were treated to what felt like a mini-trip to the aquarium. The leftside of the shop was filled with tropical plants reaching up to the ceiling and were surrounded by a dozen ponds, all filled with fish. Small fantail comets. Small coi. medium coi, and a few quite large coi. Orange, white, tan, peach, speckled, and one with blue eyes. As we walked, the fish sensed our presence. They immediately moved to the surface with open mouths. They thought we were serving lunch.
We drove off having purchased a water test kit and a container of “Pondtabbs”, aquatic plant food and a plan to return in a few weeks to buy some plants for our pond. And maybe some fish, too.
Happy Birthday, Brian!